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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Goes Out With Huge Tax Hike for Pittsburgh Man

Okay, we could not close out 2011 without some outrageous story of government excess. This one from downtown Pittsburgh caught my eye:
The value of a 18-by-10-foot parking space on Mt. Washington jumped from $5,000 to more than $287,000. That’s even more than his condo. Richard Milesky, Jr., the proud owner of the underground parking space, says that until this week, the space was valued at $5,000.

“I think its prima fascia evidence that there’s been no attention to detail,” he said.
Sounds like the words of an anti-government extremist, hey Mr. Obama?
“Well, you had to laugh a little bit because I thought it was a mistake, but then I realized how serious it was.”
Yeah, it is. These boys aren't joking. They expect you to pay a percentage of what they say it is worth. If you could sell it to the government for $287,000 it might not be bad, but they aren't buying. They're just telling you the value they are going to base your tax bill on. And by the way, if you show that the space next to yours sold for $3,000, that won't necessarily oblige them to change their assessment.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!



























Here's hoping all my friends here have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Obama "Green Carrier Strike Group" Struggles To Stay Above Water

In another example of inappropriate government ventures, the Federal Times reports that the US Navy has bet heavily on the future of biofuels:
The Defense Department has signed a contract to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuel — the largest purchase ever by the federal government — to power the Navy's "green" carrier strike group.

The blend of used cooking oil and algae will be mixed with traditional fuels to help power the carrier strike group during military exercises next summer in the Pacific Ocean.
It is all a part of the Obama fan dance of energy independence. The notion of gaining some degree of separation from foreign oil producers has broad appeal to many Americans, but in the mind of Obama, energy independence can only come by means of alternative energy. On a cost basis analysis, none of these schemes have proven to be in the least bit attractive in the free market.

Shrugging off such small minded concerns, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus channeled Admiral Farragut and issued his orders: "Damn the costs, FULL SPEED AHEAD"
“It accelerates the development and demonstration of a homegrown fuel source that can reduce America’s, and our military’s, dependence on foreign oil. The Navy has always led the nation in transforming the way we use energy, not because it is popular, but because it makes us better war fighters. This unprecedented fuel purchase demonstrates the Obama administration’s commitment to seeking energy security and energy independence by diversifying our energy supply.”
It doesn't hurt that the companies supplying this oil are tied to the administration.
The Navy entered the contract with Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels for $12 million for aviation fuel. Dynamic Fuels is a partnership of three firms, Solazyme, Syntroleum and Tyson Foods.

Solazyme previously received $21.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus, to build a “biorefinery.” T.J. Glauthier is listed on the Solazyme website as a strategic advisor for the company. Glauthier served on President Obama’s White House transition team, where he focused on energy issues for the recovery act, according to the Solazyme website.
Government dalliance has wandered near and far. Payouts made by the Federal government under this administration range from the aptly named Cash for Clunkers program, to bankrolling failed solar power cell manufacturers like Solyndra.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unbelievable

What kind of stones would it take for a guy to come up with this:
“I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln -- just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history.”
Let's see... you've collapsed the economy, spiked unemployment to over 9 percent and sustained it there, added a staggering 4.2 tillion dollars to the national debt, forced the government takeover of the health care industry, placed the Federal government at odds with the various states, suing them to force them to accept your unwillingness to secure our borders, undermined our friends, courted our enemies, and divided the nation along political and racial lines. That is impressive.
“But, you know, when it comes to the economy, we've got a lot more work to do.”
Ya think?!

Sympathy Seeking

The Venerable Bede
Ever in a haste to capture the political advantage of victim status in the Western culture to which they have chosen to immigrate, those of the Islamic persuasion have risen to new heights of hyperbole. The latest is to characterize themselves as the world's new "Jews".

Tis odd, one might think, for a group that so utterly despises those of the Hebrew faith to point them out as their moral equivalents. Why would they aspire to such an association? The answer lies in history.

The Jews have a long history of persecution and subjugation, the most ghastly example of which in recent memory would be the Holocaust. Thus, to claim equivalence in the mind of the West is to assume the ultimate mantle of victim hood, prime real estate for a minority group in the West. Blog fav The Venerable Bede comments on the goings on:
... over in Switzerland in October, 2000 protesters organised by the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland paraded the streets wearing yellow stars. Nicolas Blancho, head of the Islamic Central Council, explained the symbolism: "Muslims are treated as second-class citizens and are discriminated against, for example because they wear a headscarf or because of their name when they look for an apprenticeship or are looking for an apartment." Justifying the analogy still further, Tony Blair's nutjob sister-in-law Lauren Booth, speaking at the event, explained that people often glared at her in the street.

You'll notice that there seems to be some disagreement here as to exactly what did happen to the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust, perhaps attributable to the patchiness of the historical record.
Yessiree, it is a curiosity, but as Bedes well knows the record is far from patchy. Few events in history are better documented than the atrocities that Nazi Germany inflicted upon the Jews in the lands they ruled or occupied. Differences in opinion on the historical facts depend entirely upon the individuals retelling the events. In Western culture, the event is well known and well documented. Amongst the Muslims the world over however, one can't be too sure. It may very well be that the whole idea of a Holocaust was merely a grand fable made up to justify the stealing of land from the Bedouins that lived in the Middle East. The fact that they would delight in repeating the adventure in the current day in no way lessons their vehemence in denying it ever occurred in the first place.

It's a mind bender, but the Venerable Bede will straighten it out for you. Gain his insights on the world's "newest" Jews here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sowell on Where We Stand

Against the backdrop of the recent NRO take down attempt of Newt Gingrich, ably commented upon by our own Terrance D., Thomas Sowell has spoken out to place into perspective the stakes we face as a nation:
This is not just another election and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama's broken promises, glib demagoguery and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: "We are going to change the United States of America."

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.

Internationally, it is worse. A president who has pulled the rug out from under our allies, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, tried to cozy up to our enemies, and has bowed low from the waist to foreign leaders certainly has not represented either the values or the interests of America.
Indeed.

NRO is not the conservative beacon of light it was under the audacious William F. Buckley. Still, it is one of the few prominent conservative news and commentary sources. Their effort to denigrate a prominent Republican candidate through a unsigned editorial on the eve of the first actual primary does our nation no favor.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Finding One's Way through the Forest

Roxeanne de Luca is a gem of a gal. Prone to perusing Dear Abbey and offering her own common sense commentary, her recent post on The Sad Thing About Waxing drew a flurry of back and forth between Bobby B, Joy McCann and one Robert Stacy McCain, with the bulk of the discussion directed to the debasement of our culture.

All this to direct your attention to Roxeanne's answer in Belvedere's comment section:
"In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis said that Satan’s goal is to take normal, healthy pleasures and pervert them, so that we need ever more for ever less enjoyment in return. When you decouple sex from love, you end up working incredibly hard to replace the love component with physical pleasure and excitement, which must necessarily result in ever-increasing disordered activity. “Normal” sex becomes boring, not because it is so, but because it is so without love, without the underlying connection that constantly strengthens as the couple goes through married life."
Yes, yes indeed. Beautifully said.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pelosi Still Smoking Something

Somebody get a grip on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Always pitching stuff that would give one pause, her latest pronouncements are just bat-shit crazy:
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that extending unemployment benefits would add “600,000 jobs to our economy.”

She also said that the money from unemployment benefits creates a “safety net” for the U.S. economy because it “injects demand into the economy -- creating jobs.”

What the...?! I mean, I'm aghast! Is this woman completely off her rocker?

In short... yes, yes she is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mark Levin Proves to be a Pain In Obama's... Plans

That Mark Levin character has been a real problem for the Obama White House. His Landmark Legal Foundation have been pressing the White House to reveal what involvement Justice Kagan had with the White House preparations for a challenge to their Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Justice Department emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act petitions show that then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan was brought into the loop as Justice Department prepared to respond to an anticipated legal complaint that Mark Levin and the Landmark Legal Foundation were planning to file against the act if the House used a procedural rule to “deem” the bill passed even if members never directly voted on it.
In another internal DOJ email communication that same week, Kagan alerted the chief of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel to the constitutional argument that a former U.S. Appeals Court judge was making against the use of this rule.

28 U.S. Code Section 455 stipulates that a justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law also says a justice must recuse anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”

Kagan's top deputy in the Office of Solicitor General was Neal Katyal. In an e-mail response to Kagan, Katyal had wrote:
“Fyi, Also AG just told me that he expects a big story out shortly about whether you are recused in health care litigation. I went over the timing and that you have been walled off from Day One.”
Speaking to CNS News, Mark Levin responded:
“I served in the Justice Department, including as chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. It simply is not credible to argue that Kagan, as the top litigator at Justice and for the nation, would not have been informed about and commented on the legal strategies involving the most important constitutional and policy issue not only in the Obama administration, but in several decades of American history. If she had been ‘walled off’ from the matter, where is the evidence for that? Who was the gatekeeper? In fact, the emails demonstrate that her subordinates were ensuring that she was kept informed about events and potential legal issues, including Landmark's draft complaint, which was prepared to challenge the Slaughter rule and then-Speaker Pelosi's attempt (albeit abandoned) to bypass the Constitution's law-making requirements. At a minimum, it does not appear that Kagan was forthright during her confirmation testimony about the extent to which she was kept apprised of Obamacare.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fudging of Unemployment Numbers More than a Counting Game

With the announcement last month that the unemployment rate had finally dipped below 9%, there was much excitement that the glad news could spell victory. No, not for the nation over the economic morass we are in, but for the Obama administration and their hopes for a win in the next presidential campaign. Now this is all very nice in its own way I'm sure, but we have to face the hard truth.

As Washington commentator Ed Luce writes in the London Financial Times, "According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent."

As we currently measure it, the unemployment rate is not how many people don't have jobs, but how many people don't have jobs who are actively looking for them. Much of the drop we experienced was caused by people just giving up and dropping out of the labor force. As the Obama Administration measures it, those people don't count anymore.
Since 2007, the percent of the population that either has a job or is actively looking for one has fallen from 62.7 percent to 58.5 percent. That's millions of workers leaving the workforce, and it's not because they've become sick or old or infirm. It's because they can't find a job, and so they've stopped trying. That's where Luce's calculation comes from. If 62.7 percent of the country was still counted as in the workforce, unemployment would be 11 percent. In that sense, the real unemployment rate -- the apples-to-apples unemployment rate -- is probably 11 percent. And the real un- and underemployed rate -- the so-called "U6" -- is near 20 percent.
Those numbers are a much closer match to the reality most of us are experiencing. Look around you: large numbers of people unemployed, and likely to remain so.

For that I say give credit where credit is due.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Students Face Freezing Temps While School Master Endeavors to "Save Planet"

In an effort to lead the way and teach by example, headmaster Rob Benzie of Ansford Academy in Castle Cary, Somerset switched off the radiators to show how the secondary school could reduce its energy consumption. The result: pupils huddled and shivering, bracing from the cold as classroom temperatures dropped to just 1°C (34°F).
"We cut the heat to see if we can lower our carbon footprint. We let pupils wear as many jumpers as they liked. Everyone seemed happy enough, although it did get pretty chilly. We sent letters to parents telling them of the plan. We had only one complaint and that was from a member of staff. But in the end they just got on with it. We have too much heating."
Whether the heating they have is "too much" seems subjective. Clearly, Mr. Benzie is not as aware of the effects of his program as he gives himself credit for:
One teacher called it "beyond stupid" and added: "I've never worked in such cold. I'm all for saving the planet, but this was barbaric. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Barbaric? No, I don't think so. Asinine... now there's a word for you.
"Nobody could work properly and kids could not even grip a pen through their gloves" said the mum of a 12-year-old. "She was shaking when she came home. I was absolutely furious."

A dad added: "Turning the heating off in December is just mental. I can't believe the kids learnt anything. I'm very angry with the school."
Mr. Benzie, however, defended the experiment, vowing to stage further such "eco-days" on a regular basis. The first eco-day turned out to register as the coldest day of the winter so far. The school's actions effected no change upon the global climate. However, the school kids did gain an appreciation for the achievements of one Ernest Shackleton.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What?!

Bradley Cooper, star of the movie The Hangover (?), was selected by PEOPLE Magazine as their 2011 Sexiest Man Alive. Though devilishly handsome, extremely intelligent, wildly talented and down right charming, the author of What the...?! missed the cut.

Said nicholas: "I don't get it. Two years ago it was that waif Johnny Depp. Last year Reynolds walked away with the brass ring. I'm thinking, 'Sandra Bullock's guy pal?!' I mean, c'mon, what gives? It's a travesty. Well, we must all learn to live with life's small injustices. I wish all the best for Bradley."

The 36-year-old Cooper was selected to join the list of elite men, including last year's winner Ryan Reynolds and two-time winners Ilion and Darrell.

Though "The Hangover" star was spotted with Jennifer Lopez a few weeks ago, the blue-eyed babe told PEOPLE he was still very single. He doesn't quite see himself as the serial-dating sex symbol that most people do. "If you're a single man and you happen to be in this business, you're deemed a player. But I don't see myself as a ladies' man."

Give it a rest, Coop.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Climate Change Tax to Curtail Travel, Increase Costs of Trade

President Obama, always striving to help the economy and never one to trouble himself with constitutional limits on his authority, apparently has a team of negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference looking to create a new tax on foreign travel and foreign currency transactions. The taxes, purposed to pay for a so-called "Green Climate Fund," were cleverly designed to fall disproportionately hard on American travellers and businesses.

The information comes from the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a group known to be skeptical of the UN position on global warming which has been observing the goings on at the latest UN meeting.
Negotiators at the conference are considering "a new tax on every foreign currency transaction in the world. Every time you travel abroad, you'll have to pay a climate tax," explains CFACT, the group that released the "Climategate" emails. "More importantly, every time we import goods, every time we export our fine products (think jobs) we will do so with a climate tax skimming off the top."
Conveniently European countries would escape much of the tax burden, as "transactions within the Eurozone won't have to pay this new tax."

Obama is disposed to implementing this kind of tax in lieu of a full climate treaty, which would require congressional approval.
"We have learned that while many have discounted this conference, knowing that a full climate treaty is difficult to achieve especially with a U.S. Senate that will not vote to ratify. Obama and his fellow climate travelers are working around the Senate and planning to stick America with the bill."
Perfect.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shields Offers More Gibberish on PBS

Gordon Peterson, host of the "mesmerizing" PBS news show Inside Washington, led the ever energetic debate on the left over the prospects of Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich:
MARK SHIELDS: The Republican field - Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman - stand between a landslide reelection victory of Barack Obama if Newt Gingrich is the nominee. If Newt Gingrich is the nominee, it will not be a competitive race. It will be a landslide. It will be a walk to reelection at a time when the nation needs a major debate.

GORDON PETERSON: Nina?

NINA TOTENBERG: Well, I don’t think that Barack Obama has led such a good life that he deserves or will get Newt Gingrich as an opponent, but it is possible, and it’s possible at the moment because of the time. I mean, we’re very close to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary now. It feels like this has been going on forever, and will go on forever, but it’s about a month or less. And so the time to pierce that balloon and watch it fizzle is evaporating, and he may beat the time, may beat the clock.
As usual, it's a deluge of diversity in opinion over there at PBS. Shields - what a joke. John Huntsman stands between the American people and a landslide re-election of Barrack Obama? John Huntsman?! What crack pipe has Mr. Shields been smoking out of?

Here we have the president presiding over an absolutely horrific economy, he has encumbered the American people with health care legislation that they don't want, he has buried them under trillions of dollars of debt, and you tell us that it is Newt Gingrich who doesn't have a prayer?

I'll grant you this much, Mr. Shields: the two men have a strange commonality. Newt Gingrich was the architect of the 1994 Republican landslide victory. For his part, Barack Obama was the architect of the even greater 2010 Republican landslide victory. If Newt is able to secure the Republican nomination, I guarantee he will be able to articulate conservative ideas in a manner that will make for a clear choice for the American people.

The nation needs a major debate, Mr. Shields?

"I'm your huckleberry."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

TSA's "Proper Procedures" Cause Only Minor Injury

TSA agents found no explosives or weapons on the elderly disabled woman, and correctly concluded she posed no serious risk to the lives of her fellow passengers. Furthermore, it goes without saying that if she had not been taking blood thinners, the leg wound suffered by Lenore Zimmerman would not have bled so profusely. These are the conclusions one can safely arrive at as our TSA continues to exert its coercive powers.

Spinal compression fractures have reduced her frame to 4-foot-11, but one can never be too sure. Once stripped and searched, the TSA agents allowed Ms. Zimmerman to proceed to her flight. Unfortunately the walker Ms. Zimmerman uses was banged against her right leg, and the resultant gash required airport paramedics to control the bleeding.

Wound dressed and her tetanus updated, she was all right to proceed with her travel plans. Of course, by than she had missed her flight.
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said a review of closed circuit TV footage from the airport shows “proper procedures were followed.”
I can't tell you how very reassuring it is to know that proper TSA procedures were followed.

As Ms. Zimmerman has an implanted internal defibrilator, she had asked to forego the body scanner at JFK Airport in favor of a light pat down. Instead she was led off to a surprise strip search by two TSA employees. Alarmed at the "thoroughness" of the TSA investigation, Ms Zimmerman asked the TSA agents
"Proper procedures were followed."
“Why are you doing this?”, but the agents did not respond.
I believe that was proper TSA procedure as well.
“Our screening procedures are conducted in a manner designed to treat all passengers with dignity, respect and courtesy.” Farbstein added.
What could be more dignified than a two agent strip search?

Zimmerman's son was surprised to learn of the strip search.
“She looks like a sweet, little old lady. She’s not a disruptive person or uncooperative.”
All the more reason to get underneath the very deep game she obviously was playing. Just look at those eyes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I would dearly love to go to Bath

One of the plus sides of our internet age is that we can come to have friends in far away places. For me, one would be Matthew Coniam, whose love of the cinema has caused him to create a most entertaining blog.

Here is a slice from one of his recent posts where he was pondering the qualities that make a screen presence endure in our social consciousness:
"So will our children know much about Jennifer Aniston? Not sure. Here she is in a film I only watched last night, but try as I might, I just can't remember the title of. I had to go to the shelf to remind myself in order to Google for this photo, and I'm now going to have to go to the shelf again - and we're talking less than ten minutes later - to remind myself again in order to write the title here.

Ah, yes. It's called 'Just Go With It'. Ask me to remind you at the end of this post and I'll doubtless have to go and check a third time. A suicidally unmemorable title, I'd say. Originally sat to Jen's right in the picture is Adam Sandler, a light comic actor whose true level of popularity I've never quite been certain of, but who also keeps working away, in films that seem to do consistently well-ish but rarely smash (or bomb). I've only seen him in 'The Wedding Singer' and 'Fifty First Dates'. He gatecrashes when we invite Drew around. (Even Winona couldn't hold my attention too long into Mr Deeds.) He's showing his age in this one; getting a bit stocky, and it looks like he's dyeing his hair now. Comes to us all, I suppose. Quite a nice little actor, albeit not one I would have picked from the chorus line personally.

A few good laughs here. Not too bad. It's not really a pure pink film, but a kind of couples movie that strives to appeal to both sexes equally, and full of references to contemporary popular culture, of which I understood just enough to realise how much of the rest of it went careening over my head. And even when they're not punchlining about tv shows and pop groups I've never heard of, they're talking very quickly, often at the same time, and with a lot of ambient noise. And I know this is supposed to be a golden age of sound recording, but to me at least a lot of the dialogue reached my ears like this:

Adam: Dgfgf rhrhhr jjytuwpq shdh?
Jennifer: Kf Lotrgfcd ghtyr!
Adam (unimpressed): Thf hghr jkupzcmght agde.
The blonde cutie Adam's trying to pull: Wqryr hghfde slpu.
Adam's dorky brother: Aw, come on! Retss fgfhr hjyt!
Jennifer (in comic triumph): Ghjfkjtye puytrew!!!"
Keira Knightly, patron saint of Movietone News

This guy cracks me up!

A very fine writer and a lover of the theater, his blog is a delight. Read the whole post here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ceasar Undecided Whether Rome Should Burn

Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in August proposed a regulation that would require all health care plans to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including abortifacients. Forcing people to purchase services they do not want, that's one thing, but to force them to do things they find morally repugnant, now that would be something again.

It is over this proposed expansion of governmental authority that we find the president pondering:
President Barack Obama has not yet decided whether to go forward with a proposed regulation under the health care law he signed last year that would force Catholic individuals and institutions to act against the teachings of the Catholic church.
NARAL Pro Choice America issued a statement urging Obama to “stand firm against anti-birth control organizations.”
O, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
With blood and sword and fire to win your right!
In aid whereof we of the spiritualty
Will raise your Highness such a mighty sum
As never did the clergy at one time
Bring in to any of your ancestors.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded:
"Such nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker, or purchase 'services' to which they have a moral or religious objection represents an unprecedented attack on religious liberty."
White House Press Secretary Jay "Chili-con" Carney said the president seeks to strike a balance on the matter.
"You can be sure that we want to strike the right balance between expanding coverage of preventive services and respecting religious beliefs. And that’s the balance that will be sought as this decision is made."
Put in another way: 'We are weighing the politics of it and are considering if we can get away with another infringement on individual liberty and religious freedom. If we can take this away from people, we will for all intents and purposes have succeeded in bringing down the greatest free people the world had ever seen.'

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Krugman's Conundrum

Dr. Walter E. Williams
Muddying the waters in his November 3rd New York Times column Oligarchy, American Style, Paul Krugman lamented our state of affairs, worrying: "We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only."

To which Walter Williams answers:
Joanne Rowling was a welfare mother in Edinburgh, Scotland. All that has changed. As the writer of the "Harry Potter" novels, having a net worth of $1 billion, she is the world's wealthiest author. More importantly, she's one of those dastardly 1-percenters condemned by the Occupy Wall Streeters and other leftists.

How did Rowling become so wealthy and unequal to the rest of us? The entire blame for this social injustice lies at the feet of the world's children and their enabling parents. Rowling's wealth is a direct result of more than 500 million "Harry Potter" book sales and movie receipts grossing more than $5 billion.

In other words, the millions of "99-percenters" who individually plunk down $8 or $9 to attend a "Harry Potter" movie, $15 to buy a "Harry Potter" novel or $30 to buy a "Harry Potter" Blu-ray Disc are directly responsible for contributing to income inequality and wealth concentration that economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says "is incompatible with real democracy." In other words, Rowling is not responsible for income inequality; it's the people who purchase her works.
Krugman's notion that "income inequality" is incompatible with Democracy begs the question "who shall enforce the 'equality'". The job must fall to the government. The resultant loss of freedom would of course ensure that individuals would lose their ability to freely make their neighbors wealthy, but who would the real losers be?

It is not freedom that is the problem, Mr. Krugman. It is your pinheaded ideas about a 'perfect world' that are incompatible with Democracy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She's Too Funny!

Ever catch April Gavaza at inveterate scars?
A Warning

I feel bad for the husband. He patiently sits through every one of my first person POV rants, waiting until the end to politely nod in agreement as if I haven't given him the same speech at least once a week. The rambling diatribe is usually preceded by the unceremonious dumping of some unfortunate scifi tome into the trash bin and the statement, "It's harder than it looks, people!"
She's telling this to the collective authors of the various books she's reading!
Because not just anyone can craft a lush narrative out of what is actually a very myopic view of the tale. Not everyone can weave depth and clarity into one person's version of events. Very few writers remember that just because you are writing "I" does not mean that you are telling the story. The narrator is not necessarily the person with their name on the front cover. If you must write yourself into the story, give yourself a cameo.

Charlie Huston, Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Piccirilli and a few others are good at first person. Many others sound like bad detective noir, and not in the fun, campy way.

Don't make me throw your book in the trash, people. Think before you start down that road.
I love the way she orders these guys around. "Think! Think!!!" Geez!

And on the more personal side:
Tragic

My hair is tragic. Never go to SuperCuts on a whim, clutching a picture of Jean Seberg. As alluring as the $20 price tag may be, it is not worth it. Not. Worth. It. Needless to say, no new pictures until it grows out a bit. I try not to regret going short, but a bad haircut is a bad haircut.
I'm sorry, this stuff just cracks me up. It's pretty fun.

Obama Team Befuddled On Kagan Controversy

In a bid to become the most uncredible spokesman in White House history, Obama Administration Press Secretary Jay "Chili-con" Carney states he sees no reason for United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself in the upcoming Supreme Court challenge on the constitutionality of the Obamacare legislation.
“These issues were raised, just a year ago, in an expansive confirmation hearing. And those questions were questions were asked and answered both in the hearing itself and in written questions that were responded to in writing. It’s a mystery to me how this can suddenly be an issue a year later and they want to revisit what they just visited not that long ago.”
Kagan is known to have exchanged e-mails with Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, including one that said:
“I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing.”
Carney isn't arguing that Kagan has no opinion on the legislation. He is saying that the topic was thoroughly discussed at her confirmation hearings. Of course the truth lives far from Jay Carney, and all the e-mail exchanges between then Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Tribe, who is a well-known Supreme Court litigator and was then serving in the Justice Department, were blocked from view until a Freedom of Information Act filing pried them loose.

Well Jay, here is what Democrat Senator Arlen Specter had to say at the time of her confirmation hearing:
"It would be my hope that we could find some place between voting no and having some sort of substantive answers, but I don't know that it would be useful to pursue these questions any further."
It was so difficult for Senator Specter to get a straight answer from Ms. Kagan that he thought there would be no use in further questioning her. Nice.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Republicans have said:
“Neil Katyal, Ms. Kagan's principal deputy, stated he would ‘speak with Elena’ about her office participating in a Department working group that would plan the Administration's litigation strategy, exclaiming that he wanted the Administration to ‘crush’ those challenging the [health care law].”
28 U.S. Code Section 455 stipulates that a justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law also says a justice must recuse anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”
When pressed about the e-mails, Carney moved to a different topic.
Yeah, move along, Jay. It's no fun arguing when the facts indicate you're either an idiot or a liar, and as unbelievable as some of the things you have to go out and say for this White House are, you're no idiot.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What is this guy doing?

Again?!

I don't know. I have a hard time listening to President Obama talk about how hard he's working to create jobs, get the economy going, how really bad it was when he came in to office, the problems he inherited, how really tough it's been on him, and how we need to toughen up ourselves, learn to sacrifice, and take on our fair share of the burdens. Meanwhile once he gets off the golf course (and mind you he's had thirty trips to the links so far this year) he's out trying to inflict another economy crushing tax bill, or looking to pass another spendapalooza.

If the president wants to play golf, shoot some hoops, travel off to the islands or watch some basketball, whatever... that's fine with me. Just get your boot off the throat of America.

The rest of us need to work.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tommy Takes a Look at Liberal Land

Discussions held with proponents of liberalism can leave one wondering 'what on earth are these people are thinking?' A simple, common sense statement like 'we cannot go on spending money we do not have' is utterly lost upon them. We have had a wealth of practical experience allowing liberal ideology to be implemented into public policy, with disastrous results. And yet, not in the least bit deterred, they cry out to us all:

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead!"

That might be the perfect phrase if you are laying siege to a fortressed city, not so good if you are tossing limited resources into the bottomless money pit that is our Federal government.

Thomas Sowell is not pre-disposed to such tomfoolery. Growing up in Harlem, his optimistic notions of the benefits of government interventions were rudely shattered when he spent a year working as an economist with the Department of Labor. It is with this eye of experience that he views statements of our Treasury Secretary:
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner says, "We're facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country." People talk that way in Liberal Land. Moreover, such statements pass muster with those who simply take in the words, decide whether they sound nice to them, and then move on.

But, if you take words seriously, the more fundamental question is whether individuals are to remain free to make their own choices, as distinguished from having collectivized choices, "as a country" — which is to say, having choices made by government officials and imposed on the rest of us.

The history of the 20th century is a painful lesson on what happens when collective choices replace individual choices. Even leaving aside the chilling history of totalitarianism in the 20th century, the history of economic central planning shows it to have been such a widely recognized disaster that even communist and socialist governments were abandoning it as the century ended.
And still we hear our problems will all be solved if we just spend ... more. A trillion dollars were spent to 'stimulate' the economy, and the result is unemployment near 10%, 20% if you count all those who gave up looking. Despite this the solution tossed our way is to blow another 500 billion... 500 billion that we do not have.
The world of reality is not nearly as lovely as the world of Liberal Land. No wonder so many people want to go there.
Yes, but you and I get to live here, in reality.